Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart
Country music star Randy Travis performs at a small venue after being inducted into the North Carolina Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, May 14, 1999. (AP Photo/Rusty Burroughs)

Country Rewind: Randy Travis' Long-Term Hit 'Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart'

On April 7, 1990, country music singer Randy Travis' "Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart," the second single off the album No Holdin' Back (Warner Bros. Nashville), topped the charts for the first of four consecutive weeks. No single had reigned atop the Hot Country Songs chart for that long since Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson's version of "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys" held the No. 1 spot for a whole month in 1978. Grabbing the public's attention for that long required the right artist, singing the right song about faith, hope and love. Here's a quick look at why Travis and producer Kyle Lehning were up to the task.

Charting New Ground

In those 12 years between an outlaw staple penned by Ed Bruce owning the charts and Travis' longest-reigning No. 1, country artists jostled for what amounted to the hit of the week. This takes nothing away from their successes and talents, but many of those number ones racked up by Travis, Alabama, George Strait and other legendary acts came when singles rarely stayed in the top spot for long. Only a select few songs topped the chart for two or three weeks between 1978 and 1990, with the handful of three-peats including Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler," Jennings' "Amanda" and Travis' "Forever and Ever, Amen."

In prior decades, hits would dominate that top spot for weeks. For example, look at the year Webb Pierce enjoyed in 1955. Whether that makes someone like Pierce better than the stars of the 1980s is subjective, although it's fair to assume that more country music fans pick up a guitar or start a record collection because of the long-term impact of short-reigning '80s and '90s hits.

Read More: See a Young Randy Travis Cover a George Jones Deep Cut in Early Television Appearance

A Believer's Look at Love

Although it's a love song at its heart, the Hugh Prestwood-penned hit points to how effectively Travis used faith-based analogies. Talk of prayer, temptation and building a foundation on solid ground wouldn't have sounded out of place on those later country-gospel albums that begat "Three Wooden Crosses." A few Biblical buzzwords don't make a song gospel, but in this case they do paint an image of a Christian pleading with his partner and God for a little Earthly redemption.

A Hit With Staying Power

"Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart" was no one-month wonder. Certainly not to the folks at Billboard Magazine, who ranked it second only to Clint Black's "Nobody's Home" on their year-end chart. RPM Magazine's Canada Country Tracks chart loved the song even more, rewarding it the top spot on their year-end list. Keep in mind that this sustained praise came the same year that brought country fans three of Garth Brooks' first four No. 1 singles, including his truest masterpiece "The Dance."

Chart history aside, this and other Travis hits aged well as products of a classic country-inspired revival. Travis' greatest hits ("On The Other Hand, "I Told You So," etc.) helped allow such diverse artists as Patty Loveless and Lyle Lovett to be in the conversation when it came to weekly hits and year-end lists.

This story originally ran on April 9, 2018.

"Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart" Lyrics

Since the day I was led to temptation
And in weakness did let your love down
I have prayed that with time and compassion
You'd come aroundI keep waiting for you to forgive me
And you keep saying you can't even start
And I feel like a stone you have picked up and thrown
To the hard rock bottom of your heart
To the hard rock bottom of your heart

Now this home we have built is still standing
It's foundation is on solid ground
Do we roll up our sleeves and repair it
Or burn it down

We can't just block it out we've got to talk it out
Until our hearts get back in touch
I need your love I miss it I can't go on like this is
Hurts too much

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